15 May 2022
The GEFCO office project took part in the Best Office Awards 2022 in the Price and Quality category, which includes projects costing maximum RUB 40,000 per square meter for a full cycle of architectural and engineering design, construction and bespoke finishing for an office. The project was also presented at Business & Design Dialogue, Russia’s largest forum and exhibition on design, technology and management of office spaces.
The current format of GEFCO’s office in Russia is a synergy of functionality, convenience and comfort in 835 square meters.
The new office opened its doors to employees in September 2021, when the PLUS ARCHITECTS bureau completed a project to decorate the Russian headquarters at the international logistics operator GEFCO. GEFCO Group is a world-class expert in organizing multimodal supply chains and one of the European leaders in automotive logistics operating on the Russian market since 2003. Based on the results of an employee survey and analysis of the efficiency of business processes in a remote work format, management decided to look for a new office space to meet the changed business needs.
The main task that was set for the architects was to create a space to match a new concept in organizing the company’s work — a “hybrid” office. Hybrid work and hybrid office is a huge trend in the organization of work processes in modern conditions: a combination of working in an open shared space and the opportunity for remote work. In fact, it is an “office on demand”, where each of the employees uses the most efficient model to organize their own workflow, either remotely or in the office. The hybrid format implies a complex workweek that changes company culture, employee engagement, and operational approach to work, and involves completely different office use practices for office space. Creating this type of office was preceded by a qualitative audit not only of the office space, but also of the entire organizational structure and work processes.
The interior had to reflect key of the company such as a responsive and adaptive approach to customer needs and the company’s contribution to the development of human resources. In doing so, it was necessary to create optimal conditions for a hybrid model of the team’s work that would combine rigorous organization and work-related communication with the flexibility of working remotely regardless of time, place and space.
The design possibilities were somewhat limited by the presence of a corridor required for fire safety, dividing the office into two unequal parts. But the architects found a solution. They created an area for private communication by placing one-person “phone booths”, single meeting rooms for making video calls or participating in videoconferences in the office. The office space harmoniously combines a traditional office layout with open workspaces.
At all stages of the design and construction work, the architects aimed at creating a highly functional, light-filled space that is comfortable for employees and takes into account GEFCO’s key priorities. According to the architects, the project’s tight budget made it possible to find and implement unusual uses of color. Instead of the traditional graphite-colored office ceilings, they are rich blue with bright yellow accents. The contrasting combination was implemented so successfully that it became a hallmark of the project.
On the opening day, a familiarization tour of the new office space was held for all employees, presenting all the parameters and advantages, new opportunities and “rules of life”. On first visits, the office impressed the team with well-considered details, as it is these small nuances that create comfort and atmosphere. The innovative approach to organizing an office space, a rethought system of workstations, and a comfortable and cozy lounge zone where you can hold a meeting, drink coffee and work in a comfortable environment. In the open workspace area, employees follow the hot-desking system, occupying available workstations. This eliminates the lack of rooms, overcrowding and mutual tensions. The workplace booking calendar is shared and helps employees choose available locations and time slots.
One important nuance is that this approach requires a high level of self-organization in teams and among employees, but it also brings obvious advantages, such as saving rental space and office resources, mobility of work in periods of crisis situations due to social or economic reasons, office security, and more opportunities to organize different types of work.
The implemented architectural concept has fully met GEFCO’s needs and initial objectives. The company also appreciated other benefits resulting from the change in the office model:
The events of recent years have led to truly revolutionary shifts in the application and development of remote labor in Russia, to a major leap in the introduction of information and technological changes in business processes, such as broadband Internet access, growth of data transfer speeds, development of mobile device systems and cloud technologies. GEFCO took a new approach to work, providing employees with the regulatory, technological, communicational and organizational framework to flexibly schedule office visits while maintaining and even improving the efficiency of business processes. This has not gone unnoticed by the company employees who are very happy with the new workspace.